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Leclerc: "Strange" Ferrari struggled on hard tyres in F1 Chinese GP

Charles Leclerc was left bemused by Ferrari’s poor pace on the hard tyres in the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix as he failed to join the podium fight.

After losing a place to George Russell at the start while fighting Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz, Leclerc made early progress using a one-stop strategy to move up to fourth.

But, having been predicted to be the team closest to Red Bull on race pace, both Ferraris were unable to make any further gains, as Leclerc finished off the podium – 4.5 seconds behind Sergio Perez in third and nearly 10s off McLaren’s Lando Norris in second.

Leclerc didn’t understand Ferrari’s pace drop on the hards, having switched his mediums for this compound after 21 laps, which left him unable to challenge the rostrum finishers.

“I don't think we found it [the pace] as a team, especially on the hard tyres, which is a bit strange because the strength of this car since the beginning of the year is it's very solid in all conditions with all tyres,” Leclerc said.

“Today is a bit an outlier because, as soon as we put on the hards, we were half a second off. So that is very strange.

“We will look into it and try to understand what went wrong on that run.”

Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

After his pitstop, and once the two safety car periods concluded, Leclerc said he was aiming to battle Norris and therefore a potential runner-up finish, but just couldn’t match the pace of the McLaren or Red Bull on the hard tyres.

“It's very strange, especially compared with the McLaren - with Lando at first, I really thought we were going to fight with him,” he added.

“I was doing good tyre management until the safety car that reset it a little bit, all strategies, which is a bit of a shame because I think we were doing a good job and then, on the hard, we were just slow.

“We were expecting this weekend to be very similar or in line with whatever we've seen since the beginning of the season, but we were struggling quite a bit more.”

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